Political Cartoons on Climate Change

The environment is in serious trouble. Human beings have taken the world’s natural resources for granted. We have stripped, exploited, brutalized, and ravaged the world for generations. Now it’s time to pay the consequences and take action in order to minimize the damage and heal the world. The following political cartoons draw attention to some of the worlds major environmental issues.

Andrei Popov (Russia)

Felipe Galindo (USA)

Shahram Rezaei (Iran)

Markus Grolik (Germany)

Pawel Kuczynski (Poland)

Alexandru Bartfeld (Israel)

Jesper Sørensen (Denmark)

Bruce Mackinnon (Canada)

Bob Eckstein (USA)

DIY Moss Shower Mat

I absolutely LOVE this idea! Any way to get nature indoors and I’m all for it. This is such a fun project and its exciting to see it grow and transform. The bathroom is a great place for tropical plants as well. They thrive on the humidity. The following text and images are courtesy of eHow. Have fun and enjoy!

How to Make a Moss Shower Mat

By Chelsea Hoffman

Bring a forest wonderland right to your bathroom with moss mats.

If you want to do something creative and eco-chic, creating your own moss bath mat is an enjoyable craft project. A moss shower mat utilizes live moss to provide cushion and grip for stepping out of the tub or shower. Knowing how to make your own gives you the opportunity to design your green moss bath mat into any textured design that pleases your bathing environment.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Plastazote foam roll
  •  Scissors
  •  X-acto knife
  • Stencils
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted moss plugs

Instructions

  1. Measure and cut two sheets of plastazote foam from the roll at 24-by-12 inches each. This plastic-foam material is what is used in making commercial moss mats, and is ideal for wet-dry use.
  2. Lay one of the sheets of plastazote in front of you and place a large stencil in the center. It can be of any shape you want, but simple geometric shapes are ideal for beginners. Trace the shape with a white crayon, since the plastazote material is dark in color.
  3. Cut around the shape tracing with an X-acto knife. Cut down through the entire depth of the material, and push out the cutout shape, leaving a perfect hole in the shape of the stencil. Do this as many times as you want on the material. Place smaller stencils around the large cutouts and repeat, as you please.
  4. Squeeze a line of hot glue along all four edges of the second sheet of plastazote material. Layer the sheet with the holes over it evenly, pressing the edges together. This creates a single mat of about 2 inches thick. The top layer features perfect molds for filling with moss.
  5. Moisten the top layer of the mat after it has dried for an hour. This gets it primed for the moss. Spray it with a fine mist of water from your shower head or a spray bottle.
  6. Fill each “mold” in the top layer of the mat with your own selection of moss plugs, which can be purchased online or from specialty nurseries and gardening stores. Irish moss, Spanish moss and some forms of live sphagnum moss thrive well in these living eco-shower mats.

Tips & Warnings

Place the mat near your tub or shower as you would any other shower mat. Simply shower and step out on it. The soft, plush moss will absorb the water dripping from your body as you towel off on it. This, in turn, provides the moss with enough moisture to thrive.

Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

With winter approaching, our homes are beginning to get stuffy and dry as the heat turns on and the indoor pollution increases. There are a few ways to counteract this including the use of humidifiers and air purifiers. Here are a few natural ways to help keep the indoor air clean this winter. The following text and images are courtesy of Wellness Mama. See the full article here

3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air 3 Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

Turns out that indoor air can often contain more toxins and chemicals than outdoor air. Everything from mattresses to pots/pans to kids PJs can contain harmful chemicals in indoor air.

It’s best to reduce chemical exposure in any way possible, but in today’s world, it is practically impossible to completely avoid harmful chemicals.  For the remaining chemicals in indoor air, there are some natural ways to help reduce your family’s exposure.

I’ve mentioned houseplants before and they are a great option for improving indoor air (read my full list of recommended plants here). We have about eight indoor plants and I’m hoping to add more soon. For those who don’t want the upkeep of indoor plants or can’t have them due to pets/kids/etc, there are some other natural options.

Besides indoor plants, these are my top three natural air cleaners (and I use all three):

Beeswax Candles

Regular paraffin candles are petroleum derived and can release chemicals like benzene,  toluene, soot and other chemicals into the air. These types of candles do more harm than good for indoor air quality and should be avoided.

Pure Beeswax Candles on the other hand burn with almost no smoke or scent and clean the air by releasing negative ions into the air. These negative ions can bind with toxins and help remove them from the air.

Beeswax candles are often especially helpful for those with asthma or allergies and they are effective at removing common allergens like dust and dander from the air. Beeswax candles also burn more slowly than paraffin candles so they last much longer.

I personally only use beeswax candles in our house. We buy them by the case and our favorites are:

Salt Lamps

Salt lamps are another natural way to clean indoor air. They are made from himalayan salt crystals and just like the beeswax candles, they release negative ions in to the air to help clean it. They are also a beautiful light source. The only downside…. my kids like to lick them!

“The Himalayan Natural Crystal Salt Lamp also works as an air purifier. When lit, the lamp emits negative ions that fight against positively charged particles that cause you to feel stuffy and sluggish. The lit salt crystal clears the air naturally of allergens like smoke, pet dander, pollens, and other air pollutants. It dilutes odors so that you can breathe easier. People with asthma often find it helpful in reducing their symptoms. You can keep the lamp lit for as long as you like to maintain this purifying effect.” (from this description)

We don’t do night lights in our kids rooms, but if we did or if we need a light source at night for reading, we use salt lamps. The natural orange glow doesn’t disrupt sleep hormones like fluorescent or blue lights do and I find it very relaxing.

We have an 8-inch salt lamp that we use regularly (it is also the most cost effective for its size, as the bigger lamps can get very pricey).

Bamboo Charcoal

Another natural air cleaning option I recently discovered is bamboo charcoal. I’ve talked about one of my unusual uses for charcoal before and we use a charcoal block water filter to remove toxins from our water.

Charcoal can have the same toxin-removing effect on the air. We use bamboo charcoal in burlap bags in our house. They work wonders for odor removal and removing toxins from the air:

“Moso air purifying bags, made of linen and filled with bamboo charcoal, absorb unpleasant odors and dehumidify the air. The porous structure of the high density bamboo charcoal helps remove bacteria, harmful pollutants and allergens from the air and absorbs moisture, preventing mold and mildew by trapping the impurities inside each pore. The Moso air purifying bag has been scientifically proven to reduce the  amount of formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and chloroform gases emitted from everyday items such as paint, carpeting, furniture, air fresheners, chemical cleaners, rubber, and plastics. Toxin free, the bags are safe to use around pets and children. The bamboo charcoal rejuvenates when the bags are placed in sunlight once a month. You can reuse the bags for two years, after which the charcoal can be poured into the soil around plants to fertilize and help retain moisture. (source)

I’ve found that these are also great for removing odors from cars or from the bathroom (especially if you have recently potty-trained boys who don’t always have perfect aim!).

We use these Mosu bags in every room of our house.

Alaska and The Yukon

Earlier this month I went on an 11 day cruise / inland tour of Alaska and the Yukon through Holland American Tour line. The trip was magnificent. We began in Vancouver and sailed for three days up the coast of Canada to Alaska stopping in Juneau and Skagway before taking the White Pass train into Yukon Territory.

Juneau

Red Dog Saloon in Juneau – This is a huge tourist attraction, but with its sawdust floors, amazing burgers, and live music, it is totally worth it.

Skagway

Traveling through the Yukon, we stopped in Carcross, Braeburn, Whitehorse, and Dawson City. We spent the most time in Dawson City and it was by far one of my favorite stops. The town was picturesque old west with dirt streets and western style store fronts. We made a trip out to the Dempster Highway and into Tombstone National Park. This took us out onto the tundra and over a continental divide.

Emerald Lake

Yukon River

Dawson City

Tombstone

Tombstone

Dawson City

From Dawson City, we drove over the Top of the World Highway, crossed back into Alaska and took the Taylor Highway to Chicken. Chicken is but three buildings, a mercantile, saloon, and cafe. The food was amazing! For such tiny little towns in the middle of no where, every place we stopped offered something delicious and tasty. From Chicken we drove on to Tok then Fairbanks before catching a train to Denali National Park. After Denali, our tour concluded in Anchorage.

Top of the World

Fairbanks

How to Make a Floral Crown

Never too old to explore meadows barefoot and fill your hair with daisies. 

Following picture and text courtesy of Etsy. See full article here

How to Make a Floral Crown

August 27, 2012

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Amanda Thomsen

Brittany Watson Jepsen

HouseThatLarsBuilt

Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Find her on her blog, The House That Lars Built, and her Etsy shop, where she designs and sells kitchen accessories and all things floral.

Floral crowns are sure having their moment of glory these days. The trend pops into fashion every now and again, but some of the most inspiring versions are those from the Pre-Raphaelites.

I spotted Spring by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (look closely!) last year while at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and ever since I’ve been wanting to make my own version. I finally sat down and experimented with some lovely flowers and wish I had an excuse to wear it around town. Thankfully, a wedding is the perfect excuse to don a floral crown. The beauty of working with real flowers is that you don’t need any materials other than the flowers.

So, let’s go!

Materials:
Flowers of your choice and clippers. The pliable flowers are best to work with for the base of the crown. Try bending the stem first to make sure it doesn’t crack. If it does, consider trying something else. For this floral crown, I used black dahlias, tidsel (the greenery for the base), astilbe (the pink), craspedia (the yellow balls), and virburnum berries (the turquoise and purple).

Step 1:
Cut and line up the first round of flowers for the base of your crown. Ideally, the stems should be 5-9″ long each. You can cut them down but it’s harder to work with shorter stems. I suggest using greenery first and then adding the colors into it.

Step 2:
Lay one stem perpendicular on top of another.

Step 3:
Bend the stem under.

Step 4:
Bring the stem up to the top and then press it down so it lies next to the first.

Step 5:
While holding the two stems in place with your left hand, place another stem on top and bend it under.

Step 6:
Bring the stem up again and then place it parallel with the others.

Step 7:
Repeat the process until it’s the size of the circumference of the head. I added some different greenery into the middle to create more of a focal point when it’s worn.

Step 8:
When you get to the end, wrap the last stem tightly around the others to secure them in place, making sure that it doesn’t break.

Step 9:
To finish off the circle, weave the last stems into the beginning of the crown by tucking them in.

Step 10:
Now you can start adding in other flowers. I added longer pieces first so that the shorter flowers can be seen at the end.

Step 11:
Place your show-stopper flowers evenly around the crown. I used black dahlias as my main piece.

Finishing Touches:
Continue adding in your flowers evenly around the crown. I added in berries at the end for some exclamation marks.

There are several different versions to a floral crown. You can switch off flowers for the base of the crown instead of adding the flowers in at the end, or you can keep it simple and just use one variety.

After completing one, you’ll want to turn every flower you see into a crown.
Good luck!

Photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen and Amanda Thomsen.

Burning Man

MiraBella plays host to a wonderful fall party to conclude the summer season and start anew. Running wild with the Burning Man theme, it is a chance to rid yourself of the past, events, negative feelings, or items and allow for new growth. It’s all very symbolic.

VK set a bonfire at the base of a wooden man and we watched as he erupted in smoke and flame. The fire slowly disintegrated him from the feet up. As smoke and sparks rose from the man, guests approached dropping items into the fire.

With a cast of characters in attendance and all the youngins gone home to bed, the party erupted with shot after shot of coconut tequila, heaven sent 1800. The bottle was soon empty.

Lots of rowdy behavior ensued. Then VK had a brilliant idea: Grass tubing! This fun sport consists of tying a snow tube to the back of an F450, hopping on and being dragged through the fields. It was awesome!! We flew across the grass, up and down slopes, over bumps. Somehow only one among us fell off. It was a wonderful night!

Ten Dramatic Landscapes

I LOVE to travel. New cities, new countries, new anything excites me to the core. I am a bit of a sucker for top ten lists as well. TripAdvisor sent out an email today of 10 dramatic landscapes. These places are definitely going on my Bucket List. For those nature lover’s out there, get an eyeful of these stunning sights!

See the article here. I highly recommend using TripAdvisor when traveling to new places. 

10 dramatic landscapes

1. Badlands National Park

     South Dakota, US

2. Cano Cristales

     Villavicencio, Colombia

3. The Pinnacle

     Cervantes, Australia

4. Salar de Uyun..

     Bolivia, South America
     Bohol Island, Philippines
     Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, US
     Pamukkale, Turkey
      Arizona, US
     Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia, Africa
       Northern Ireland, UK